Migrants should get free housing apparently

We’re also pleased the strategy acknowledges that some people, such as migrants, experience additional barriers to getting the support they need to prevent or solve their homelessness.

That’s what I think that means.

Ending rough sleeping means having a plan for every single person forced to sleep rough, so to see the funding commitments to support local areas working with non-UK nationals, and a rough sleeping support team to help resolve their immigration status is very encouraging.

Really, I think it does.

We might find out that “senior paramedic” means union offical

Struggling ambulance trust considers using volunteer and military drivers
Paramedics ‘horrified’ as East of England trust consults on plan due to staff shortages

Well, using volunteer drivers is indeed commonplace in many other countries. Here in Portugal the local fire and ambulance is near all volunteer. Regular fund raisers to get the cash for fuel and equipment too.

What really interests here though is:

A senior paramedic at East of England Ambulance Services said they were “absolutely horrified” by the proposal for volunteer ambulance drivers, even for low acuity patients, adding that it showed how “desperate” the trust was ahead of the winter,

What’s the betting that our senior paramedic is in fact a union official? Horrified at the thought of the unpaid taking his members’ jobs?

A fun claim

A rail boss has been accused of “living on another planet” after claiming that Britain’s railways are the envy of Western Europe.

Robert Nisbet, regional director of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train companies, said that other EU nations can “only dream” of having the UK’s levels of punctuality and efficiency.

Mr Nisbet conceded that passengers had faced “frankly appalling” levels of service, but went on to defend the performance of the railways.

In terms of the total cost as opposed to performance I think he’s onto something too.

Dawn Foster’s numbers

They just never do work out, do they?

Yet for thousands of families, the six-week school break is characterised not by play schemes and day trips in the sun, but acute financial stress, hunger and malnourishment, due to the absence of free school meals for children on low incomes that costs a family £30-£40 a week.

£30 to £40 a week to feed a child?

OK, let’s say two kids, the UK modal family size.

Aaaaah – she means that school meals cost £3 a day. And poor peeps get them free. So, if there’s no school and people aren’t getting the free meals then that costs them £3 a meal.

Which is unadulterated bollocks of course. But then Foster’s numbers never do add up, do they?

Hmm

Ministers are considering a so-called “retirement levy” which would see taxpayers pay a lump sum to the Government in order to meet the spiralling costs of residential and social care in old age.

The proposals would see retirees make a one-off payment into a ‘national care fund’ which would go towards meeting the costs of funding their stay in residential homes, it is understood.

Why not just let people pay a lump sum to an insurance company? Even, finance it over a working life with monthly payments?

Why, we could invent a word for it maybe. Assurance possibly? A pension even?

So much for international diplomacy

EU institutions are far from perfect. They can appear remote and rigid. They have an infuriating habit of delaying crucial decisions until confronted with a sense of impending doom. And yet, by the standards of international diplomacy, the EU is both efficient and democratic.

If the EU’s as good as it gets then perhaps this international diplomacy gig is something we should ignore?

That’s rather the point, isn’t it?

The House of Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee found there are fundamental flaws in the way the government awards contracts because of “an aggressive approach to risk transfer”.

The report, published on Monday, found that ministers try to spend as little money as possible when awarding contracts while forcing contractors to take unacceptable levels of financial risk.

Often the government does not fully understand the risks it is transferring to private companies, the committee says.

It’s a risk, so no one does understand it properly, of course.

But then that’s rather the point isn’t it? That the people carrying the risk have skin in the game? That capital is at risk as that buffer against that risk?

25 years of homelessness – Well, Yes….

Homeless life is a hard, hard slog. You’re always hungry, you’re always tired and society always thinks the worst of you. I used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate against my mental illness, which no doubt caused people to write me off as a drunken bum who chose a bottle over a better life. But the life I lived is one no one in their right mind would ever choose. Homelessness can, in fact, feel like a waking nightmare.

The thing is, absent serious addictions or mental health problems, there are, to any realistic statistical value, no long term homeless.

Even if you want to pump up the problem there are two distinct populations. Those above, then a series – you can argue about whether it’s a trickle or a flood – of those transiently sleeping rough. This second group we do have the systems to aid and we do aid them.

It being fairly important to distinguish, because there simple provision – as we do – of housing deals with the transients rather well. This other group aren’t and won’t be aided by the simple provision of housing.

Ollie Letwin is very clever and very ignorant

Ministers and officials must invoke Britain’s effort to build Spitfires during the Second World War to help construct the homes the country needs, one of the Government’s key housing advisers says today.

Sir Oliver Letwin, who is carrying out a major review for Theresa May, says infrastructure must be organised like wartime aircraft production to solve the housing crisis.

Wartime was state directed and planned. It was efficient at the single goal, inefficient at everything else. This isn’t what we want, is it?

What we’d actually like is pre-war housing. You know, hte absence of he Town and Country Planning Act 1947, the 1930s being the last time the private sector did build 300,000 houses a year.

Entirely fair

The US is withdrawing from the United Nations human rights council, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday, calling it a “cesspool of political bias” that targets Israel in particular while ignoring atrocities in other countries.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said she had traveled to the council’s headquarters in Geneva a year ago to call for reforms, to no avail.

“Regrettably it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley told reporters at the state department. “Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council.”

Sensible even – we should do the same.

Yes, this is the one where Saudi Arabia ran the women’s section or summat.

Tories put my achievement at risk

There are two political/economic achievements I can claim. Not that I achieved them alone, but there was very definitely a part in them for me. Suggesting, convincing people at the right points in the policy development process. And one of them is at risk:

It is understood that a freeze on tax thresholds is being considered as one option to pay for up to £10bn of the extra annual cash injection. This would, however, mean another big policy U-turn by the Tories, who are committed to raising the tax-free threshold to £12,500 and increasing the level at which people pay high-rate tax to £50,000 by April 2020.

The point I made was quite simple. The difference between the Living Wage and the minimum wage is, pretty much entirely, down to the taxation of low wages. If people received the minimum wage free of income tax (and it’s a slam dunk if it’s free of both NIs) then they would, in their hands, have what the Living Wage insists they should get. We’d also reduce the far too high marginal tax and benefit withdrawal rates, increasing labour supply, make the poor better off and so on.

Plus there’s that moral point, if minimum wage is the minimum that it’s just and righteous that people should gain for their labour then what in buggery are you doing taxing it?

So, the tax allowance should be whatever the minimum wage is. That’s why the aim is that £12,500, that’s what the full year, full time, minimum wage was when the policy was adopted.

Working against that we’ve the fact that fiscal drag is just too tempting a place to go get tax money. Which is why we ended up in this ludicrous situation in the first place, with people working part time on minimum wage playing taxes upon labour income in the first place. Several decades of such fiscal drag.

So, of course I think they’re doing the wrong thing here. But then I’m also right, they are doing the wrong thing. Because if you want the poor to be better off you have to stop taxing them.

Dame Margaret, Lady Hodge

She has been one of the fiercest critics of companies and institutions which fritter away taxpayers’ money.

But now the veteran Labour MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, is seeking a salary for a voluntary post at a university, it has emerged.

Dame Margaret, the former chair of the public accounts committee, applied to be Chair of Council at Royal Holloway, University of London, which was advertised as an unpaid position.

However, sources have claimed that the former minister said that she would only take up the post if it came with an income of £20,000 per annum.

Dame Margaret, who has served as MP for Barking since 1994, was honoured by the Queen in 2015 for her political and public services.

A source told The Sunday Telegraph said that the university role “attracted well over 100 good applicants when it was advertised. So lots of capable people wanted to volunteer to give back to support the University.

“Royal Holloway University’s statutes, or laws, forbids the University from paying their Chair of the Council a salary. The post has to be done for free. This did not deter our Labour MP who is not willing to do the job for nothing, even though it had been advertised as a voluntary job. A very socialist approach to volunteering and the public good.”

Ritchie doesn’t give evidence without cash support either. What is it?

And yes, when asked to give expert evidence to aid in jugging some criminals I did indeed do it for free.

Telling others how to parent

A High Court judge has criticised a social worker who took a child away from his mother because she refused to give him an ice cream.

The social worker said the woman was failing to meet her son’s “emotional needs”, and also highlighted how she did not allow him to get his hair to be cut “in the way that he liked”.

Mr Justice Mostyn, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the social worker’s criticisms were “utterly insubstantial” and “obviously inconsequential”.

The judge said the social worker had outlined her evidence in a 44-page witness statement which was “very long on rhetoric” but “very short indeed” on “concrete examples” of “deficient” parenting.

He said it was “very hard” to pin down within the “swathes of text” what exactly was being said “against” the woman.

We’ve two problems with this idea that the State is in loco parentis.

One is the quality of the people likely to do the job. This is not just me being a gammon, those working in the front line of these sort of state services are not going to be the brightest and best of our society. The other is the beliefs they’re going to hold. Rather the point for some is that such state parenting – like state anything else, education and so on – is going to be determined by the “correct” views. You know, those they’d like to impose upon society and which no one will give the time of day to in the real world.

Our truly great problem here being that we also undoubtedly need some form of child protection because there are some truly appalling, even evil, parents out there. Thus, how do we do the protection bit that actually needs to be done without handing over the entirety of society to the ideologically driven incompetents? And that such services are run by the ideological incompetents is easily enough proven. Just look at the rules about race and adoption….

Well done to the LGA

If you want to have a look at the details of their new report:

The government’s right-to-buy scheme risks running out of homes unless councils are given funding to build more, a report has warned.

Research by the Local Government Association found local authorities only have enough money to replace less than one-third of the number of homes sold over the past six years.

You go here to find:

The full report by Savills, commissioned by the LGA, is available on request.

So:

Media office contact
Mike Tighe
020 7664 3333
mike.tighe@local.gov.uk

To get:

Address not found
Your message wasn’t delivered to mike.tighe@local.gov.uk because the address couldn’t be found or is unable to receive email.

And people say there’s nothing wrong with local government in the UK, eh?

Which worries you more here?

Judge Owens said the woman was a qualified nurse, but had an ‘extremely low range’ of intellectual inability.

She said an independent social worker had prepared a report after observing mother and son.

‘The independent social worker highlighted some of the concerns around [the woman’s] ability to meet the needs of [the boy],’ said the judge in her ruling.

‘These include … not feeding [the boy] in an appropriate position, not changing [his] nappy appropriately, and placing [his] nappy changing mat very close to a metal table leg when [he] was moving around on the mat.’

Judge Owens said the social worker watched the woman, ‘spend about an hour holding [the boy] who was sitting in the Bob The Builder car’.

The social worker had told how the woman ‘maintained limited eye contact and communication’ and said the Bob The Builder toy car was ‘inappropriate’ for his age because there was ‘a potential risk of [the boy] falling if [the woman] lost control of him’.

To qualify as a nurse a student usually takes a degree course for which they generally need an A Level in biology or another science.

Courses are made up of work placements, lectures, exams and practical tests.

So, what worries?

That the state decides to take children from dim bulbs? Or that dim bulbs can and do qualify as nurses?

My word isn’t this a surprising argument?

The news that despite making up only 9% of overall applicants to the university admissions service Ucas, black students in the UK make up more than half of those flagged for possible fraud, has understandably outraged many. In other words, they were 21 times more likely to have their applications investigated than their white counterparts.

There is legitimate anger being directed towards Ucas from political figures, students, educators and communities across the country over this data, especially given its failure to explain the shocking racial disparity. But I believe we are only touching the surface of a deep-seated issue that has existed within our education system for a very long time – institutional racism.

Really, who could expect such a diagnosis from such a source?

Malia Bouattia is a presenter for British Muslim TV’s #WomenLikeUs and was president of the National Union of Students from 2015-16

Blimey, isn’t this a surprise?

As a chartered town planner since 2011, I know all too well what people think of my profession. And as a district councillor in Lichfield, I am also acutely aware of the challenges council planning teams face.

So it was good to see Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud speaking up for underpaid, undervalued council planners.

Just such a surprise to see someone arguing for moar money for people like me.

How is Facebook to know who is a parent?

Facebook and other social media websites should require parents to confirm that their children are over the age of 13 before they are allowed to use the websites.

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, criticised social media websites for only requiring children to tick a box to confirm that they are over the age of 13.

He said that social media means it is “one of the hardest times to be a parent”, with children using new technology that “we couldn’t have dreamed of” a generation ago.

So, how will it be done? Other than just ticking a box that is. Anyone going to have to start providing birth certificates or something?

Sigh. Either the system becomes horribly and expensively intrusive by requiring real world documentation. Or it’s just box ticking.

The young people of today, eh?

Highly-addictive video games risk having a “damaging” impact on children’s lives, the Culture Secretary has warned after parents raised concerns about a hugely popular multi-player “survival shooter”.

Fortnite, a video game which pits 100 players against each other and is free to play on mobile phones and games consoles, has proved hugely popular with children and teenagers.

The game has been downloaded more than 40 million times since its launch in July 2017 and been endorsed by a raft of celebrities, including Premier League footballers and chart-topping US rappers.

What would a Culture Secretary have to do all day if it weren’t for the repeated insistences of apres moi la deluge?